Review Fix chats with singer-songwriter/guitarist Jonny Parks, who discusses his creative process and latest song, “Smoke and Mirrors.”
Born in Westchester, NY, singer-songwriter/guitarist Jonny Parks is an artist of mixed genres. Having shown an interest in music at the early age of 8 by owning a keyboard and a harmonica, Jonny Parks has become a multi-instrumentalist who works on mastering his craft and broadening his musical horizons. Starting classical guitar at 16 and singing by 19, Parks incorporates sounds of Soul, Jazz, R&B and Blues into his repertoire of sound. With the release of three EPs (Room 327, DrugFall, and Sidekick Stories) and his first album underway, Jonny Parks is steadily gaining popularity throughout NYC with performances in venues such as: Rockwood Music Hall, The Bitter End, Desmond’s Tavern, Pianos, Amateur Night at the Apollo and more. Parks is currently a literature major at SUNY Purchase who uses storytelling lyrics and unique narrative on his original songs as well as interpreted covers about love, addiction, and music. Jonny Parks was also featured in Relix Magazine’s July/August 2015 CD Sampler featuring Grateful Dead.
Review Fix: What makes the Jonny Parks brand unique?
Parks: What makes my brand unique is that I am musically versatile and a storyteller like no other. I draw from my inspirations in a way that no other artist does I believe. In my music, you’ll hear 60s soul, 70s funk, 00s R&B and even elements of 90s hip hop. Over the years, I’ve learned how to embody the very sound that inspires me to create in order to produce my own image and sound. I’ve also been told I’m a hell of a guitarist too!
Review Fix: What are your goals for 2017?
Parks: My goals for 2017 are to grow even more musically and to simply grow my fan base. My goal is to have the best album coming from an indie New York artist, whether it be with this upcoming release or with the next project.
Review Fix: How do you want your music to affect people?
Parks: I want my music to affect people and let them know that we all have issues we are trying to overcome. My upcoming album “The Portia LP” deals heavily with the theme of addiction. I would like for people to listen to the lyrics and apply them to their lives if they are in need of change.
Review Fix: What makes your latest song a special one?
Parks: “Smoke and Mirrors” is a special one because of the way I decided to write about unrequited love. The song is in a 60s Motown style, which was a completely new thing for me. Amy Winehouse is a huge musical inspiration of mine too. I feel like once she passed, there was a musical void of authenticity left behind, especially in pop music. I hope to fill that void someday and a create a sound that people will remember. Also, I feel as though songwriters today don’t put full emotion and honesty into their songs. With “Smoke and Mirrors,” the singer is completely powerless and child-like to the woman he is singing to.
Review Fix: How was it written?
Parks: It was written with James Brown in mind, actually. Like I said, it was the first of it’s kind for me. The lyrics are pretty simple although there are some clever lines. When I was writing it, I had no idea what it was about. It reminded me of a Beatles song… any one that has no real message or theme in it (think of “I am the Walrus”). It wasn’t until after I recorded it I thought, “Oh! This song is actually about me!” I think every songwriter has been there multiple times.
Review Fix: What’s next?
Parks: The next thing for me would be to push hard into furthering my reach by playing as many shows as I can this summer and to create music better than my last project. My favorite thing to do is to grind, work, and better myself. I also love surrounding myself with people who have the same work ethic that I have. I know I’ll be a success because I have never believed in quitting… Momma and pop taught me better than that.